FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Troy Patton knew he wasn't going to pitch for the Orioles anytime soon because of the tightness and pain in his left shoulder. He could try rehabilitating it, a plan that wasn't advancing his recovery, or consent to surgery and aim for 2009.
This week, the decision became pretty clear.
Patton, the 22-year-old pitcher obtained from the Houston Astros in the Miguel Tejada trade, will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum. The Orioles are arranging a visit next week with Dr. Lewis Yocum, who could perform the procedure in Los Angeles.
"It's kind of disappointing to miss the season, but I'm anxious to get it over with and hopefully feel better and pitch better next season, have a little bit more velocity than I've been pitching with. And I'm looking forward to feeling good throwing a baseball," he said.
"It's nothing drastic. It's a small tear in my labrum. A few anchors and it should be good."
Once viewed as a favorite to become the fifth starter, Patton never appeared in an exhibition game. A recent bullpen session was cut short because he couldn't get loose.
"They say a lot of guys can pitch with it. It just got to the point where the pain was too much, and I couldn't throw a ball the way I know how," he said.
"I was counting on him," manager Dave Trembley said, "but we've got to move on."
Patton said he has been told that his recovery time will be six to eight months, which leaves him confident he will pitch next season.
Orioles president Andy MacPhail said he spoke with team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens and got "the old good news, bad news scenario."
"The bad news is he thinks he has to have the shoulder taken care of," MacPhail said. "The good news is he liked what he saw when he went in there, by and large, and he's very optimistic that he can have a full recovery and be ready by '09. Looking at the whole picture, that's what I anticipated. If we can get him back to full strength by '09, that's fine by what I was hoping to accomplish."
Aware that Patton was having issues with his shoulder before the trade, MacPhail still wanted him in the package that also included outfielder Luke Scott, infielder Mike Costanzo, and pitchers Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate.
"Sometimes you've got to go for the high-risk, high-reward type deal," MacPhail said. "I could've had a different player in there, but [Patton is] 22, left-handed and already worked his way to the big leagues. I can wait. I'm all right with that.
"That's the beauty of getting five players. You can take some chances."